20. December 2010 00:40
Time to Fear the Deer Again?
The Milwaukee Bucks got off to a very slow start in the 2010-11 season. Much of that can be attributed to the poor health of star center Andrew Bogut. His arm was reportedly still bothering him as he gradually recovered from last season’s gruesome playoff injury. Then he developed back spasms.
You can almost see the pain in his scoring totals just before a five-game layoff.
From November 9th to November 20th:
This is Andrew Bogut we’re talking about. Mr. Double Double. He only reached double digits in points twice in those six games. Milwaukee went 3-3 as he battled through the pain.
From November 24th to December 1st, Bogut sat out and rested during a five-game stretch. Obviously he didn’t score any points (imagine a line of 0-0-0-0-0 for dramatic purposes). Milwaukee went 1-4 in the five games Bogut missed.
He returned on December 4th, telling the media that is arm felt great and his back was much better. He’s been on fire ever since.
Since December 4th:
That’s seven straight games in double digits, while Bogut also reached double digits in rebounds in five of those seven games (with one of the misses being a nine in his lowest minute outing this past Friday vs. Utah). Bogut was back, seemingly at 100%. You have to FEAR THE DEER when Bogut is near 100%.
Let's do this. Since Bogut regularly scores double doubles, here's a comparison before and after the rest break showing points plus rebounds.
POINTS PLUS REBOUNDS
Bogut was surely happy to be contributing to the team again. Milwaukee was just 4-3 in those seven games after the layoff. But their quality of play had improved significantly. One of the losses was at the buzzer against San Antonio, the team with the best record in the league (currently 23-3). Another was against Miami (currently 21-8). Milwaukee beat Dallas in Dallas during that stretch (the Mavs are currently 21-5).
The Bucks have a challenging two-day tandem facing them Monday and Tuesday. Milwaukee visits Portland, followed by their only road game of the season against Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers. This challenge comes on the heels of what might be another injury development. Bogut reportedly jammed his arm vs. Utah Friday night, and temporarily suffered numbness.
Can Bogut stay healthy long enough to make Milwaukee a factor this year? There’s no reason to fear the deer if he can’t.
*Oklahoma City flunked its defensive test Sunday Night vs. Phoenix. The Thunder allowed a ridiculous 62% on two-point baskets, with Brook Lopez and Steve Nash going 9 of 10 and 5 of 7 inside the arc respectively (Nash would add 2-2 on treys).
Could be that Oklahoma City is still overmatched by the most effective offenses. Let’s see how that plays out in the coming weeks. There will obviously be some very effective opposing offenses in the playoffs! Improvement from the early nightmare was important. Bullying the bad teams won’t be enough.
*Monday night marks the debut for the “new look” Orlando Magic. They visit Atlanta Monday, then go home to face Dallas Tuesday Night. That’s throwing Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu in the deep end. The Magic then host San Antonio Thursday in a national TV game on TNT, then host Boston Christmas Day as part of the TV quintuple-header on ESPN and ABC. Killer week. You can see why they didn’t want to wait any longer to pull the trigger.
*Also of interest Monday Night, Dallas visits Miami in the rematch of the game that triggered Miami’s turnaround. The Heat just had a busy week, and may not have the legs to extract revenge (it’s their 7th game in 11 nights). Should have a playoff feel at the very least.
Back late Monday Night to discuss what happened in those two games…
(Editing in a next-day addendum. Brandon Jennings will miss 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his foot. Let's monitor the next few boxscores to see what impact that will have.)